Saturday, June 23, 2018


Our little, or not so little man-all 8lbs 10 oz of him, made his debut into the world on June 19th! His name is Dallin Glen and we are completely smitten. Austin and I say pretty much throughout the day, 'he's just so cute!' or 'This is OUR baby.'

It truly is amazing. Now we don't how we lived without Dallin in our life up until this point. I remember when we were in Pocatello living in a tiny studio, we were eating dinner, and I distinctly remember feeling that we were missing a little boy next to us. Well 3 years later, he's here and we are SO grateful he is.

Birth story coming for another post but here are pictures of this adorable man.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Baby Showers and Birthdays

I feel so lucky to live close enough to family to make weekend trips. One of those was the beginning of the month to see Sydney's high school musical and also for my Viv and Ondalynn and Mom to put on a baby shower for me. It was great to see Oregon friends again. They were so generous. 

I just love that I'm letting Seth and Tiffany do the work and I'm just chillin. 
The crew right before Sydney's musical
Then a few weeks later, two of my ministering sisters put on a baby shower for me here and I was floored that a dozen people came! I've only been in this ward for a few months. And many stayed for 2 hours. And then I received more gifts from those that couldn't make it. Can I get a hashtag #seriouslysoblessed ;) But really, the generosity of people is amazing. Makes me want to be better. Unfortunately we were having such a good time that I only got these pictures later. 

And here's some random tidbits from the month. 
Packing in that reading time before baby comes. 
We made a ton of recipes from the How Not To Die Cookbook like these amazing French toast. 
So fun to talk to Bree on Mother's Day. She is doing great on her mission!
Squeezing in last minute temple trips before baby and before they close for renovations in August. 
Trying our hand at watermelon juice
Austin is the best. This is what I found when I was about 100 pages from finishing Middlemarch. 
Memorial Day parade

This was our spot for lunch on Memorial Day. We listened to the 3 in 30 podcast from The American Moms about how to celebrate these holidays with more meaning. It really added a lot to the day. 
And then we did a little walking in the area.
And I cut my hair! Feels good. 
The rest of the month was filled up with mine and Austin's birthday. Both days were pretty chill. We got lunch, ice cream, talked with family, etc. I realized that both Austin and I aren't the gift giving type. And we're usually last minute planners. I got Austin a waterproof cover for his backpack for those rainy days and reflective tape. Yes, this is exactly what he wanted. Well I felt like I was celebrating my birthday with gifts all month from all the gifts from baby showers plus this rocker and stroller. We're going to be using both a lot here real soon. On my birthday we went to the food truck where they had Moroccan food set up. And we got to try some for free if we agreed to do a small interview for this local TV show. Anything for free food, right? The food was AMAZING. I could eat it every day. 

Afterwards, I had the thought to stop by the local bookshop. I was praying that morning that I could help someone out that day. I can tend to get self absorbed when it's my birthday. I stopped by and found the book Wonder. It was on the owner's disability fiction section. I looked at the price knowing I could get something a lot cheaper at Amazon but went ahead and bought it. What really happened is it opened up a conversation with the owner about disability since she was born with one. She talked about how important this book is but doesn't want to see the movie because the visual triggers it brings up when she was bullied at a young age. I got to know her a little bit better and asked her how she got the shop and what she loved reading this year. The whole experience was to what I wanted to feel when I read the book This is Where You Belong. I kept thinking that buying local helps the community and you actually appreciate where you live more. I know that I wouldn't have gotten that type of experience just buying it off Amazon. I decided to make it a yearly tradition to buy something local to help someone out and get to know that person better. 

On Austin's birthday
Almost 35 weeks
Two weeks later trying out the Moroccan food.  
Almost 37 weeks
I love this print that I got for my birthday last year. I've been looking at this print for a while and to have this become a reality in a few short weeks is amazing to me. I wouldn't have thought it would happen so soon. And don't you love that other quote on the ledge? It's an inside joke between Austin and I. It's the best. 
Things I don't want to forget: while I was at mutual the night before my birthday, Austin goes to Lowe's, uses his gift card to buy this slab of wood and makes me Kubb. It's a fun outdoor game and something I can't wait to use now that it's nice outside. No matter what I tell him for gift ideas, he always comes up with something to make me. That's just him to a T. 
Love this rocker!
Slick ride! Our baby is going to be riding in style. 
As an extension of my birthday, the next day we went to a Mariners' game for Mormon night. We even got spiffy hats. That's why you can see a sea of white in these sections because Mormons and their cheap seats. It was a fun game!
Love making memories with this guy! I've been trying to look for the picture that was smashed together when Austin was at a Mariners' game and I was at a Chicago White Sox's game back in 2012. We both had our pictures taken separately and Austin put them together. You better believe that it was Austin's idea to do the smashed picture thing.  It actually looks legit. I need to hunt it down but glad we got to sit next to each other this time instead of being thousands of miles apart. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

May 2018 Reading Round-Up

I have been packing in the books this month (can you tell that I'm about to have a baby?) ;) but thankfully I got out of an audiobook rut and was able to finish several of these through audio. And some other ones were just really quick, fun reads. 

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
This was a really fascinating look at aging, dying, and what our norms in medicine push us to do or how we should "treat" this as if it's a disease. What it comes down to is asking the hard questions like what are you willing to give up and what would you want your life in the end to be like? It's not so much that we want them to die pain free but rather live fully. I wish I had read this when I worked as a hospice volunteer. My perspective of that job changed from reading this. I would have been more sympathetic and had more desire to grant their wishes instead of meeting a criteria for my job. I'd be interested to hear those that have read it who have had to make these decisions concerning loved ones who were nearing the end of their life. Highly recommend.

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie
If you've ever listened to Sarah on her podcast, you will know how enthusiastic she is about reading aloud. It's a bit contagious. I don't feel like I can give a full, life-changing review because I don't have kids yet BUT I still saw so much value in it. The first part is all about why reading to your kids is one of the best things to do as a parent to connect with your kids. The second part is the how to do it and the third part is what books she recommends. There were a lot on the recommend list that I had never heard of before. I think that was her intention. The classics will always be there but there are a lot of great hidden gems as well.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when she talked about compelling questions to ask your kids about what they're reading. This is what I wish my teachers would have done in elementary school. Instead of being bogged down with details of the story and quizzing them on little facts, get them to write down their thoughts to some interesting questions. Here are a couple of examples: What is the character most afraid of? What does the character want, and why can't he or she have it? What is something you don't want to forget from this book?

I loved this part because not only would it be great to ask kids but also ask these questions in my own book club and think about it with my own books. I can keep these questions in the back of my mind and dig a little deeper when I'm reading something. I'm amazed at people's insights to questions and things I would never think of.

For instance, I was talking to a friend about the book club read for the month (When Breath Becomes Air) and she asked, "would you give this book to someone with cancer? Would you give it to someone who is dealing with a loved one with cancer?" I never thought to ask those questions.

Anyway, there is so much to this book that I could share but simply read it! So many great takeaways.

Restart by Gordon Korman
I'm proud to say that this came recommended by my niece, Julia, and she has excellent taste-this was great! It's about Chase Ambrose who falls off a roof and gets amnesia and can't remember the last 13 years of his life. Once the bully in school, now he gets a new start at his life and what he wants to be. This one hit a lot of great spots for me in terms of middle grade/YA fiction. Reminded me a little bit of Wonder or Flipped where it makes you laugh but also can pull at your heartstrings.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
This was my classic book for the month and the first time reading this one. It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jane Austen novel and while I enjoyed reading the beginning in book cover, there’s something about listening to her beautiful writing through audio that makes it better. I thought Fanny had some great moments in this book and I realized how much Edmund bothered me. He seemed more the timid character in my opinion. 

QB: My Life behind the Spiral by Steve Young with Jeff Benedict

This was an interesting and fun memoir with a lot of snippets about Steve Young that I would have never known about. I don't have real memories of him playing on tv but I do have memories of playing the NFL computer game where I always wanted to be 49ers because of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Steve Young. My other favorite team was New York Giants because of LT (Lawrence Taylor). Anyway, I liked the book. I think my only hang up was the excessive play by play in writing. I tended to skim a little bit unless it was a real big game like the Super Bowl or NFC championship or something. 

West With the Night by Beryl Markham

This one has been on my list since I heard it talked about on the What Should I Read Podcast episode with Kathleen Grissom (one of my favorite episodes). I agree with what's been said already that the writing is exquisite. I'm so glad I listened to this one. I started to read it but with all the African names, I knew it would flow better if I listened to it. But the narration really enhanced the whole experience (the narrator was Julie Harris). You really felt like she was telling a story and not just reading a book. The only problem is you can't take time to write down all the quotes. I'll admit that I was more invested in Beryl's story once she started flying but I still thought all of it was worth listening to, just to hear her descriptions. 

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
I remember hearing about Malala being shot in my culture and gender class back in 2012. Our teacher, Matt Whoolery, had a daughter that same age and he never gets emotional but he choked up just talking about the incident. He has four daughters and they have lived all over the world including the Middle East so everything hit home for him. I love her courage to stand up for what's right and her advocacy towards education. Makes me want to do more. 

Middlemarch by George Eliot
I'm so glad I finished this! Even though it took me 4 months to do so. The first and the last third were really engaging but there was something about that middle third that was really tough to get through. I bet if someone did it on audio they might be able to get it through quicker. Excellent writing, great themes, and I loved the complexity of the characters. I think my next Eliot novel (but maybe not for a while) will be Adam Bede. Anyone read it? 

Cold Sassy Tree by Olivia Burns

A fun southern fiction book. I enjoyed listening to this on audio. Not a favorite but a good read overall. Great characters. 

Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson

A very predictable and quick read about WWII. Not great literature but not terrible either. Reminded me a little bit of Julie Klassen's books. 

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
This was my first Jackson novel. She creates some fun and memorable characters. I wasn't pulled into this book as much as I was hoping. And the comic-con aspect didn't really work for me but I can see why her books are popular. 

At the Pulpit

See my full review here.

What good books did you read this month?